Sleep well in the Mango Bedroom.

India and Sri Lanka – living with Nature

India and Sri Lanka - living in harmony with nature.

Both India and Sri Lanka have cultures of living in harmony with nature. In addition to providing an excellent experience for our guests, living and being closer with nature is one of our main aims at GlenMyu Estate.

A statement at the UN Biodiversity Summit in 2020.

In an article from the Hindustan Times (Oct 1st 2020) it was reported that Prakesh Javadekar, when delivering a speech at the Biodiversity Summit at the UN, stated that “India has a culture of harmony living with nature”.

He states that “Since time immemorial, India has a culture of not just conserving and protecting nature, but living in harmony with it”.

He added “As enshrined in our Vedic scripts ‘Prakriti Rakshati Rakshita’ that is if you protect nature, nature will protect you” .

Tree cover had been significantly increased and animals had been protected.

Mr Javedekar held the post of Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change at that date.

Restoring degraded and deforested land.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that  India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land and achieve land-degradation neutrality by 2030.

If these targets can be achieved they must be applauded. 

We, in Sri Lanka are doing our bit as well.

On a smaller scale there are people and organisations in Sri Lanka working towards restoring environments for nature to thrive and for lands to be restored. Of course not everyone sings on the same hymn sheet and there are huge challenges to make a significant difference.

There is always going to be a battle between conservation and development. We know what side we favour.

Hopefully, a combination of individual effort, awareness and education will encourage others to follow suit.  

The concern about Global Warming and the extreme weather and catastrophes we have seen around the planet in recent years means a change in focus is both critical and urgent.

Restoration of the land at an abandoned tea estate.

GlenMyu Estate was formerly part of the much larger Viharagalla Estate. When Ru purchased the land it had been a tea estate and then a sugar cane estate. We understand that the product  of sugar cane became unviable and it was abandoned. 

There was apparently lots of prospective buyers that looked at the land over the years but did not think it was worth purchasing.

Ru made a brave decision to purchase the 5 acres which was mainly inhabited by Guinea Grass which is used as quick growing cow fodder. There were various trees spread around the land but the Guinness grass  was the main resident.

Initially Ru wanted to build a holiday home for herself and the family to use. It was only whilst cleaning selected areas that the land started to reveal what it could become. There were lots of ideas and decisions made and changed before the site for the holiday home would be placed. 

What to do with the five acres?

We were fortunate to meet our neighbours, some of wheat been developing their own properties with a view to living with nature. One neighbour has developed a diverse forest over the last thirty years and that were able to give us advice about what to plant and what works in this area. They also provided us with saplings and alerted us to SALT (Sloping Agriculture Land Technology) to secure the slopes and retain our valuable topsoil.

Another neighbour developed an Analog Forest over thirty plus years at Belipola which is around thirty kilometres from GlenMyu Estate. They have developed training programs so that others can follow their example.

Dr Ranil Senanayake gave us great advice on what to plant to encourage the return of wildlife to the land. He was also able to identify what creatures were already residing at the property. 

A change of plans.

As the house developed into a larger property than we planned and we also particularly liked the climate here, our plan for GlenMyu Estate changed. 

We decided in order to live with nature we would not overdevelop the land and provide a habitat for animal life whilst operating a hotel which could fund the development and maintenance of the estate. The land would become a place where guests could come and reconnect with nature. We realised that having lived in a city for many years that we were detached from nature. The development of GlenMyu Estate would allow us and our guests to reconnect. 

Providing food and and a safe habitat for animals became part of the plan. The creation of a food forest on the land, the produce of which would be used to feed ourselves, our guests and the animals. 

You will see when you visit GlenMyu Estate that we have planted Jackfruit trees, Mango Trees, Avocado Trees and many other food trees and plants. They are at a distance from the house where we will not be able to harvest the crop and therefore they will be food for the birds, animals and insects that are part of the local biodiversity settles on the land.

It's important that we do not use chemicals.

We do not use any chemicals or pesticides on the land at GlenMyu Estate. Although we do not have certification (as we feel there is no need) you can see from some of the insects that visit the land that we are not using chemicals. We have various, beautiful, dragon flies and in the evenings you will most likely see fireflies lighting up the night sky.

Dragonflies are a good indicator of a clean environment according to a Earthbuddies in their article “Dragonfly, The Environmentally Important Fairy-Like Insect“.

Springer state that “A major cause of the decline (in the number of Dragonflies) has been suggested to be the use of systemic insecticides” in their article “Chlorantraniliprole application differentially affects adult emergence of Sympetrum dragonflies in rice paddy fields”

How did it turn out?

Have we managed to live with nature?

We have found the the development of the five acres at GlenMyu Estate will always be work in progress rather than something that it completed.

Working with nature means that you will not always plant the right tree in the perfect place for it. A porcupine may visit the land during the night and dig up and destroy some of your work. The unpredictable weather patterns have meant that we were unable to plant saplings when we had planned to.  We have realised that you should work with the environment rather than push it. This means that we have to be patient. 

Since starting the hotel we have had to take some staff away from working on the land so that they can service our guests. 

In summary, we have made a lot of progress and are happy with where we are in our plan, but there is always more to do.

Getting the balance right.

It is a challenge getting the balance right between living with nature and generating income from the hotel. Historically the period between mid December and Mid April has been the peak tourist season in Sri Lanka. During these months our main focus is to provide the best experience for our guests. It is a drier part of the year and therefore not the time to plant around the estate. 

As the number of tourists visiting the island reduce and there is more rain we change our main focus towards planting and developing our food forest.

Sri Lanka Tourism has an ambitious target to increase the tourist numbers to seven million by 2030. This is a huge increase from the target of 1.55 million for 2023.

We have seen an increase in tourist numbers outside the normal tourist season.

Sri Lanka is actually an all year round destination as visiting the East Coast and Jaffna is from April to December when the South West Monsoon hits the country.

The beaches on the east side of the country are beautiful and have a different feeling than those on the south and west coasts. 

Living with Nature - good for the mind body and soul.

Our guests really enjoy their stay at GlenMyu Estate and especially when Ru takes them around the garden. Reconnecting with nature and getting to know where a large part of the food that they will eat whilst they are here is a joy. Knowing that you are going to eat organic healthy food that has been picked from the garden provides a sense of wellbeing. 

We can see that when our guests get closer to nature it really is good for their mind body and soul.

I was reading about the idea behind the Scandinavian word “friluftsliv” and the love of the outdoors and feel that we have inadvertently created this environment for our visitors. 

If you want to read about what our guests say about their stay at GlenMyu Estate please read our reviews on, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and Google.

A little bit of luxury and getting closer to nature.

We have provided comfortable bedrooms and lounges with spectacular views of the Sri Lankan countryside at GlenMyu Estate. Space to roam and a Natural Spring Fed Swimming Pool to get some exercise surrounded by a sea of green allows you to immerse in nature. 

Lots of our guests explore the fabulous sights within an hours drive from the estate. However, many change their plans and stay the whole day at the estate rather than battle with the other tourists to see Nine Arch Bridge.

We love it when guests stay at the estate as it is a reflection of what we have created.

GlenMyu Estate is still a work in progress – and nature will mean that it always will be. We hope that guests that stay with us now will return again and again to see the trees and plants grow and change the landscape. Several of our guests have planted Lemon Trees, Avocado Trees and other species. This allows our guests to be part of the development of the estate.

A stay at GlenMyu Estate and connecting with nature.

You can find our more about GlenMyu Estate at our website and contact us by WhatsApp to inquire about direct booking rates. 

We have social media channels where you can remotely see what we are doing at the estate.

India and Sri Lanka – living with Nature Read More »

Public Holidays in Sri Lanka

Which Nationalities visit Sri Lanka the most?

Which Nationalities visit Sri Lanka the most?

Tourists visit Sri Lanka from all parts of the world to explore the fascinating variety of sights, activities and culture the country has to offer. The Island has years if experience welcoming guests from all different parts of the Worlds. It’s interesting to know which Nationalities visit Sri Lanka the most so you know what other tourists you may meet in the country.

Sri Lanka Tourist Statistics

The Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority issues annual, monthly and weekly statistics which breakdown the numbers of arrivals and country of origin.
There is comparison figures, month to month and year to year, however you must take into account that there have been external and internal factors that have affected tourist arrivals.

The global pandemic effectively closed the country to tourists and it took some months before Sri Lanka was off the red list for travel. There was also a lag before a more normal number of flights started arriving on the Island. In our experience flights really only started bringing a number of tourists in November 2021. 

There was also effectively a halt in tourist numbers arriving in the country from late April 2022 until effectively November 2022 due to the government protests. The protests took place between 31 March and July 2022 as a result of the price of basic goods rising and food and fuel shortages.

Foreign Office warnings against travelling to Sri Lanka started to be lifted in August 2022 forward as the country started to settle down again after a change in government.

Flights from Russia started in September 2022 and other carriers followed in the latter part of the year. Tourist numbers increased to around 100,000 per month in early 2023 and it is hoped that arrivals will continue to move upward. The target tourist numbers for 2023 for Sri Lanka is 2 million and therefore the industry still has a way to go to achieve this goal.

Sri Lanka’s tourist numbers peaked at just over 2.5 million in 2018 according to the World Bank. Clearly the country has a long way to go to reach those numbers again.

Where do the tourists come from?

Visitors from the Russian Federation and India make up the highest number of visitors to Sri Lanka according to the official statistics. 

This article from Outlook India states that in December 2022 there 19,000 from Russian and 17,000 from India. 

The UK, Australia and Germany follow in passenger numbers. We, at GlenMyu Estate, see a lot of French, Swiss, Austrian and Scandinavian tourists coming to the Sri Lankan Hill Country to visit some of the sights including Ella, Nine Arch Bridge, Horton Plains National Park, Lipton Seat and Diyaluma Waterfall.

What countries is Sri Lanka targeting for tourists?

UK, Germany, France, India, China, Australia, Russia, the Middle East, and Scandinavia
During April and May 2023 the Tourist Development authority in Sri Lanka were targeting nine key markets.
If your country is not in that list please do not be offended. We at GlenMyu Estate have welcomed guests from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Ecuador, Kenya, the US and many more.

What Visa do I need to visit Sri Lanka?

Well, you will need a visa to visit Sri Lanka.

As Tourist Visas have changed over the last few years, in Sri Lanka’s attempt to increase tourism, we would recommend that you visit the Government Visa Website to get the most up to date information.

As a tourist you can visit the country for the following activities:

  • Sightseeing, holidaying
  • Visiting friends and relatives
  • Medical treatment including Ayurvedic and yoga
  • Participate in sporting events, competitions and activities relating to cultural performance

The most efficient way to apply for a visa is online via an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation)

There are three types of ETA:

  • ETA for Tourist purpose with double entry for 30 (thirty) days
  • ETA for Business purpose with double entry for 30 (thirty) days
  • ETA for Transit up to 02 days Free of Charge basis (Documentary proof needed)

At present, there are Tourist Visas which cost between US$20 and US$50, depending upon length of visa and country of origin. Visa duration is up to 30 days or up to 180 days.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries visa cost is cheaper due to the special agreement between those countries.

If you are staying longer than 30 days then you should opt for the longer up to 180 days which costs US$50. 

Visit the link for extending your visa for more than 30 days here.

What time of year should I visit Sri Lanka?

Similar to other parts of the world climate change appear to be affecting the weather patterns in Sri Lanka.

Therefore it is more difficult to know when the rains will come.

Know when the Monsoons come.

Beware the South West Monsoon…. oh… and also the North West Monsoon

Tourists visiting Sri Lanka should be aware of the annual monsoons that hit the country.

Make sure you check this before you decide what part of the Island to visit.

The North Eastern Monsoon

December to February
Rainy season in the dry zone
Regular showers in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee or Jaffna
This is an ideal time to visit the south and western beaches
It is also the best time to visit Colombo, Kandy, Galle or Nuwara Eliya
Whale watching season at Mirissa
You can experience the amazing wildlife in Udawalawe or Yala National Park
Horton Plains National Park and Knuckles Mountain range
Pilgrimage season of holy Adam’s Peak

The South Western Monsoon
May – September
There are intermittent rains in the wet zone
Also regular showers in Colombo, Kandy, Galle, or Nuwara Eliya
This is the best time to visit Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya or Dambulla
It is also an ideal to visit north and eastern beaches
It’s the best time of the year to visit Trincomalee, Jaffna, Mannar, Arugam Bay
During August-September there is the elephant gathering at Minneriya and Kaudulla.

Sri Lanka is an all year round destination.

Sri Lanka is a year-round holiday destination. This is due to its combination of weather systems ensuring that one or several regions, as well as a section of coastline, is statistically always expecting sunshine.

The peak season to visit Sri Lanka is between December and mid-April. The traditional summer holiday months are also favourable on the east coast which is at its peak from May to September.

In summary, please check the weather forecast for the part of the country you plan to visit and don’t discount visiting outside the peak season. Nowadays, tourists are looking for places to visit which are not overpopulated and they can see something without battling other people trying to get those Instagram shots.

Find out more about GlenMyu Estate.

Which Nationalities visit Sri Lanka the most? Read More »

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